There is nothing like a trip to New England to introduce you to the summer eating season.
Recently, Stacy and I were lucky enough to find the clam chowder, fried clams, lobster rolls, wild blueberry pie, oysters and fried dough found in and around the New England coast. They are easy to find and certainly easier to eat.
It helps when you start your summer startup trip at one of the oldest restaurants in America. Slurpin’ oysters at Union Oyster House will certainly open your taste buds for summer. The oyster house was opened in 1826 and has run continuously since then. The building was definitely made for smaller people of the time, but the bar manager was friendly and the oysters, from the coast of Massachusets in Katama Bay, were memorable.
Obviously, you need to get New England Clam Chowder when visiting there. But if you were to visit any shore town North of Maryland, it is a staple. But, I am not sure if it is because we were in Boston, or because we had it in Quincy Market at Anthem, but it was the best we ever had. Hate to admit, it was better than mine.
The lobster roll is the iconic New England meal, it’s akin the the Philly Cheesesteak and Cheese Curds in the Midwest. You can get them everywhere. You can find them on the river in Kennebunkport, to downtown Portland at a high end restaurant, at a clam shack or from a guy in a food cart shaped like a fishing trawler. The lobster roll is fresh lobster tossed in a little mayonnaise, celery and lemon juice. It is served on a hotdog roll that is split on the top, so you can grill the sides in a little butter. It is so popular, that McDonalds tries to get in on the trend during the summer in New England. That being said a good lobster roll may be one of the best things you ever eat in your life!
Like the lobster roll, signs for fried dough are all over. Similar to our elephant ears or the large Italian Zeppola, it is well worth it to pull over and get for a snack or to walk with on a stroll in a small beach town. Have it sprinkled with powdered sugar or drizzled with maple syrup.
If you want to cap it all off, and get summer really rolling, get the wild blueberry pie. Although, wild blueberries are only available around July in New England, wild blueberry pie is available year round. The not so secret, secret is that most bakers make the pie crust with lard.Wild blueberries are actually lowbush blueberries and are a little smaller and more intense than the high bush blueberries we get. The blueberry is Maine’s official fruit.
Why not join us and get summer started early. Here are a couple of recipes to help jump start the season.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, cold
¾ cup warm water
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Oil for frying
Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dough. Bring water into the dough mix quickly until fully incorporated. Let rest 10-15 minutes. Cut into 6-8 pieces. Roll out into 5-inch discs. And drop it hot (350 degrees) oil. Flip to fry both sides, drain and top with powdered sugar.
New England Clam Chowder
½ pound carrots diced
Small onion diced
2 stalks celery diced
4 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic
30 clams or 51 oz can chopped clams with juice
salt and pepper
2-3 russet potatoes peeled and diced.
1 quart cream
Shuck clams reserving juice from shells. Chop clams and set aside.
Chop bacon and render down in pot, add carrots, celery and onion.
Sweat until soft adding garlic about half way. Stir in flour and cook for a minute. Add clam juice, potatoes and cream and simmer until potatoes are soft. Lastly, add clams and garnish with parsley. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
1 medium lobster
2 tablespoon-¼ cup mayonnaise
Juice from ½ lemon
1 small stalk celery, diced
Salt and pepper
2-4 hot dog buns split on top, sides trimmed (lobster roll buns are only available in New England)
2 tablespoons butter
Steam or boil lobster to cook. Remove all meat from claws and tail. Coarsley chop lobster and place bowl toss in mayonnaise(to your liking) and lemon juice add salt and pepper and tarragon if desired. Grill sides of hot dog bun skillet with butter. Fill roll with lobster and eat.
Wild Blueberry Pie
2 cups flour
¾ cup cold lard
¼ cup cold water
½ teaspoon salt
Cut lard into flour and salt until mealy. Make well and put cold water in center and pull in flour until fully incorporated. Let rest
5 cups wild blueberries (you can use regular or frozen too)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
Divide dough in two and roll out into 2 discs. Fill 8-inch or 9-inch pie pan with one disc, place filling in pie pan. Dot the top of filling with butter. Top with other disc and crimp sides. Put in preheated 425 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.